THE BOSS

— by Jeff Schultz

At some point, we hope, a project will come along that makes full use of Melissa McCarthy’s talent. THE BOSS ain’t it. It’s a mess, and although I can’t come down too hard on it, since I did laugh out loud often, the plot is thin, the complication sappy, the outcome forced — plus, much of the comic timing is just off, leaving jokes to shiver in unsupported silence. By now, McCarthy has perfected the steadily mounting insult, here especially in her in-your-face put-downs of a snotty scout troop mom. But in this story of a slapped-by-reality, orphanage-raised woman who, before her downfall and prison sentence, climbed ruthlessly to the top of the business world, powered by rage at having been abandoned as a child, the filmmakers also want us to believe that she is utterly helpless once released from lockup and utterly without a filter in her dealings with, well, everybody. Sometimes it works, but a lot of the time it’s just ridiculous, and not in an especially funny way. Plus, since the movie stars the reigning queen of R-rated comedy, there are obligatory genital gags, one about Melissa’s vagina, the other about fellatio, which have all the comic punch of 13-year-olds snickering over dirty words. Of the supporting cast, Kristen Bell is so bland she makes vanilla seem like sriracha. Timothy Simons, so awesome on “Veep”, plays almost the exact same character, but in a vacuum. The biggest surprise is Tyler Labine, who has left his chubby slacker/stoner persona behind, cleaned himself up, and become, of all things, a rom-com hunk!

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